I am older so my wisdom may be hard to take but I have a 25 year old daughter and a 23 year old son and would write this to them if they were in your situation. I just hope you won’t mind if I address the fact that your SO has been married before, that you have a child and that you live together. These facts could be having an impact on his decisions and yours as well. Please allow me to explain what I mean.
If your SO’s marriage failed because he had an ex-wife with problems, then he may really not want to take another chance at marriage for awhile. If the marriage failed because your SO may have relationship issues then you may want to think long and hard before marrying him. Many times divorced people bring the same issues to a new relationship and ultimately to a new marriage. Unless you know first hand who was the problem, be cautious in believing everything he may have told you to defend his innocence. Your love for him may keep you from seeing his less than desireable traits and cause you to beieve what he tells you. When a couple gets engaged they are saying we are ready to marry. Finances and previous realtionships should not be part of his decision making after that. Right now you are both living and spending the same amount of money as a couple only without a marriage certificate. Is it going to cost your SO more money to have a wife then a live in girlfriend? Many times men are interested in keeping a relationship on their terms. It is selfish and unfair to their partners.
Secondly, you want to examine why you would consider staying in the relationship. Right now you are unhappy with or without a ring and a wedding date that he says will happen in 5 years. Sometimes women, young and old, tend to “settle” because of their individual circumstances. Whether it be that a woman is overweight, not the most beautiful or who comes as a package deal because of a child (children are blessings). Please don’t think that you will never find someone that will want you. There could be someone else if you chose to date again. It would be better to wait for a more compatible partner or even remain single for awhile than to stay with someone who just doesn’t see commitment the same as you do. How many other items do you not see eye to eye on? Be honest with yourself. As difficult as it is to not have an SO, it is more difficult living with someone who considers their needs first.
An ideal relationship should consist of the man working to make his woman happy while the woman works to please her man. That way, no person in the realtionship is neglected. However, if your man is working to make himself happy and you are working to please him then who is tending to your needs?
Lastly, I think living together is such a bad idea for anyone who hopes to get married one day. So many wonderful (and some not so wonderful) men may not end up marrying their girlfriends or fiances once they start living together. Why would they want to get married when in their minds they have the closest situation to a real marriage except that they can pack up and leave whenever they want with no strings attached. It’s a perfect life for men of all ages where they “have their cake and eat it too.” I always thought my father was so out of touch with the current ways. But he told me something as a man that I really beieve is universal among all men who live with girlfriends or fiances. He used to say “why would a man want to buy the cow when he can get the milk for free?”
Breaking up could be the best thing at this point. Your SO may learn that he doesn’t want to be without you. This may or may not happen overnight. My friend’s son lived with his girfriend for 5 years without giving her a committment. It was a year after she left him that he begged her to take him back. They married that same year.
A relationship should be working for both people. It should not be one sided. You will have to decide if you will continue being unhappy in the relationship hoping that you will get married or decide if you are strong enough to be unhappy temporarily while you get used to your new life without your SO. If you have ever been through a break up then you know the heartbreak passes. We cry, we grieve, we move on.
So get “your ducks in a row” be brave and try to stay in your home where you can continue to cut hair. Just focus on what will be best for you and your future.